Hollywood Tightens Its Belt, Slashes Movie-Star Salaries

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Photo: Getty Images

Newsflash, people: The economy is cratering! And even though a large number of Americans seem perfectly content to pay significantly more money at the box office for the privilege of watching a film while wearing a flimsy pair of 3-D glasses, Hollywood is attempting to take advantage of the financial crisis by paring back the (admittedly exorbitant) salaries they pay big-name movie stars. We first saw evidence of this when Marvel tried to lowball Vulture hero Mickey Rourke during negotiations for Iron Man 2, but now Kim Masters is reporting over at the Daily Beast that studios, and we quote, "are not fucking around" in their attempts to bring star salaries back down to Earth.

According to an anonymous talent agent that Masters spoke with, Hollywood is becoming more and more confident that audiences are making their moviegoing decisions based on the stories they're about to see, not necessarily on the actors that star in them. "On certain movies, [studios] feel like whoever they put in a part is fine," he/she said. "Once they lock down Robert Downey, Jr., on Iron Man 2, everything else is fine. I don’t think they give a shit if it’s Mickey Rourke or Scarlett Johansson [playing a supporting role]."

And you know what? We kind of agree with them. While we would be lying if we said that we were anything other than super-geeked to see Rourke get all villainous on Iron Man's ass, we're not sure that it would make any difference to us whatsoever whether Scarlett Johansson or Emily Blunt is playing the role of Black Widow. Don't get it twisted, we appreciate a great ensemble cast as much (and probably more) than your average bear, but now that celebrity actors have become such a ubiquitous presence in our lives (Internet, TV, magazines, you name it), we're less apt to seek them out — at least in tentpole-type films — than we once were.

What say you, VultureWatchers?

Haggling with the Stars [Daily Beast]